SHANGHAI, China, May 2 – Kenya and China have agreed to prioritise the construction of the Lamu Port as a key pillar project under Kenya’s Vision 2030.
In this regard, it was agreed that appropriate modalities on financing arrangements be made to avoid any financial gaps due to the huge financial resources that will be required.
During bilateral talks between President Mwai Kibaki and China’s President Hu Jintao, the two leaders were in agreement that the port had the potential to open up vast parts of Northern Kenya and benefit regional economies of Southern Sudan and Ethiopia.
The announcement means that Kenya has edged closer to the development of the second port at Lamu.
The Kenya government has already commissioned viability studies on the port and accompanying infrastructure which include a railway line from Lamu.
The bilateral talks were a climax to President Kibaki’s State Visit to China that includes attending of the Shanghai world Expo that opened its doors on Friday.
At the talks President Hu Jintao announced the extension of a Sh1.2 billion grant towards Kenya’s development projects.
The Chinese President termed President Kibaki a true and old friend of China and had redefined relations between the two countries, giving impetus to overall China Africa relations.
The Chinese leader said President Kibaki’s leadership had set Kenya on the growth path to drive the economies of countries in the East and Central Africa region.
President Kibaki said China had proved to be a genuine development partner and critical ally in Kenya’s economic revival that has led to major infrastructural development in the country.
During the talks, President Kibaki noted with appreciation that China remained one of the leading bilateral donors to Kenya with an accumulative official development assistance totalling Sh42 billion.
The Head of State said Kenya’s development cooperation with China, currently was anchored on the Forum for China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Action Plan adopted during the fourth Ministerial Conference held in Sharm-El-Shiekh, Egypt last year which lays out plans for china-Africa cooperation in all fields.
The President assured China of the Kenya government’s determination and commitment to enhance the existing cordial relations through exchange visits at all levels for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries.
“My visit today, the third one within a period of five years underscores the close relations between Kenya and China. These relationships continue to flourish characterized with mutual beneficial partnerships in various sectors including Infrastructure, Agriculture, Health, Education, Trade and Tourism”, the President said.
With regard to implementation of Vision 2030, the Kenya’s development blue print, the President affirmed the government has adopted a pragmatic approach that would transform the country into a middle income economy.
On the disastrous earthquake last month that claimed over 700 lives, impairing thousands and causing massive destruction of property, President Kibaki once more conveyed deepest condolences and sympathies to the President and people of China.
On stability in the horn of Africa, the Head of State expressed the Kenya government’s full support for the peace processes in both Sudan and Somalia.
President Hu thanked the government and people of Kenya for being at the forefront in peace initiatives in both Sudan and Somalia.
The Chinese leader committed himself to encouraging investors to open up businesses in Kenya. He will also encourage more tourists to visit the country following Kenya s attainment of preferred destination status.
President Hu at the same time announced new areas of development cooperation with Kenya including health and education where more scholarships will be given for Kenyans to study in China.
The talks were attended by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Cabinet Ministers Moses Wetangula, Fred Gumo, John Munyes, Assistant Ministers Nderitu Murithi, Mohamed Abu Chiaba and Joseph Nkaissery among other senior government officials.